Want efficiency? Type slower

by: Steve Dalton
Senior Associate Director, Career Management Center
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

I injured my thumb over the weekend.  While it didn’t make e-mail impossible, it made typing more painful and much slower, reducing my typing speed by about 75%.

Oddly, this hasn’t devastated my productivity at work.  Now that each additional word “costs” me something (a few seconds, and a little bit of pain), I’m trying harder to make points concisely so I can minimize keystrokes.

It’s neither fun nor an efficiency win, but I love its poetic justice.  While _I_ may prefer a painless 70 lightly-edited words per minute to a painful-but-more-thoughtful 20, I’m fairly certain my readers don’t.  In that light, throttling my typing speed would be rational, even after my thumb heals (a Dvorak would be a witty-but-temporary solution).

It got me thinking — as a career coach, what if offering one additional piece of job search advice (verbally, in writing, etc) cost me something as well?  Not a lot, but something: ten cents each time, or twenty seconds of leisure time — maybe even a pinch on the arm.

Suddenly, more advice isn’t automatically better.  All advice is not equally valuable, and having to “settle up” an advice bill at the end of each day would incentivize me to both prioritize and curate my advice better.  In this scenario, what advice would I cut?  Not because it’s not good advice, but because it’s not sufficiently good?

For years I’ve struggled to pare my job search advice to its bare essentials, but I clearly have room for improvement on my word counts.  Just because I’ll soon be able to type 70 WPM again doesn’t mean I necessarily should.

(Cross-posted at http://2hourjobsearch.com/want-efficiency-type-slower/)

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